Mariemont High School Students to Perform at Carnegie Hall
* This release was first published by MidAmerica Productions *
The term “Light Classics” will acquire a new meaning when two musical works that focus on light illuminate Carnegie Hall on Saturday, May 25 at 8 pm.
One composer will amplify another when conductor KellyAnn Nelson leads her Young Professionals Choral Collective (YPCC) and two other Cincinnati choruses in the New York premiere of William Menefield’s Prism. The work was commissioned to be performed alongside Morten Lauridsen’s modern choral masterpiece Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light), which will precede Prism on the program, conducted by Eva Floyd. Both works are the centerpiece of a YPCC program entitled “Radiance,” which will premiere in Cincinnati four days earlier.
“When MidAmerica Productions invited me to be a guest conductor, I knew exactly who to call,” says Dr. Floyd. “I was a charter member of YPCC, and I’ve also served on its board. I’ve watched KellyAnn grow it into one of the major arts organizations in Cincinnati.”
“Cincinnati is so proud of our thriving arts scene, and YPCC is excited to bring a bit of our choral tradition to the iconic Carnegie Hall stage,” declares Ms. Nelson. “Of course, with a large group of motivated young professionals, we're also excited to spend time in the heart of the city that never sleeps!”
Mr. Menefield is relishing the prospect of his Carnegie Hall debut as a composer: “I’ve always imagined myself being featured as a composer and performer at Carnegie Hall. To have one of my pieces performed there is truly a dream come true! I am excited, honored, and humbled by this opportunity, and I hope it is the first of many. New York City, here I come!”
Two Cincinnati area schools will be joining YPCC in the performance. “The students are looking forward to this unique opportunity to perform Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna onstage at the historic Carnegie Hall, and to premiere a work by fellow Cincinnatian, William Menefield,” states Tina Kuhlman, director of the Seven Hills School Choir. Elizabeth McGahey, who directs the Mariemont High School Choir, adds, “Words cannot begin to express our excitement about this performance. Performing at Carnegie hall is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Ms. Nelson adds, "YPCC believes in the power of raising our voices together to tell stories and seek connection with each other. In commissioning William Menefield and bringing Prism to Carnegie Hall, those raised voices can shine a light on how people's stories are seen, heard and refracted through our own filters. We celebrate the unique spectrum of backgrounds and stories, while illuminating our shared humanity.”
The peaceful and uplifting Lux Aeterna has proven to be one of the most enduring choral works of the last quarter century. While it does not follow a specific form, it is a kind of Requiem. “Every one of the five movements relates to light, a universal symbol in so many ways,” comments the composer. “I wrote it as my mother was in the process of dying, so it was a way of, as so many artists do…dealing with that kind of a situation in an artistic way.”
Mr. Menefield states: “People. We are all beautifully unique and yet our differences are often seen through lenses of prejudice and judgment. A perspective of this kind typically leads to paralyzing pride, isolationist thinking, and societal division. Furthermore, it keeps us from recognizing one important truth: we have more in common with one another than we allow ourselves to see. Prism addresses this issue by encouraging all people to celebrate our differences, acknowledge our commonalities, and ultimately unify our world through a combined effort.”
The Carnegie Hall performance, part of MidAmerica Productions’ 36th concert season, will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble. The chorus of more than 140 voices will be drawn from the following ensembles, all making their Carnegie Hall debuts:
Bishop England Chorale, Charleston, SC (Thomas Gerber, Director)
The Seven Hills School Choir, Cincinnati, OH (Tina Kuhlman, Director)
Denver Choir League, Wheat Ridge, CO (Katy Lushman, Director)
Mariemont High School Choir, Cincinnati, OH (Elizabeth McGahey, Director)Young Professionals Choral Collective, Cincinnati, OH (KellyAnn Nelson, Director)
The ensembles from South Carolina and Colorado also have Cincinnati connections, in that both Directors are graduates of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Sharing the Playbill
The May 25 concert will also include the Fauré Requiem, featuring four choirs from Canada under the direction of Lisette Canton. Joining them on stage will be vocal soloists Danielle Talamantes, soprano and Rob McGinness, baritone; and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. The choir, more than 165 voices strong, will include members of the following ensembles:
Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (Stephen Candow, Director)
York University Singers, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Lisette Canton, Director)
Whippany Park High School Choir, Whippany Park, NJ (Craig Limey, Director)
Coro Vivo Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada (Antonio Llaca, Director)
Grand Choeur du Conservatoire de Musique de Gatineau, Ottawa, Canada (Antonio Llaca, Director)
Sparta High School Honors Choir, Sparta, NJ (Laura Lopez, Director)
The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, Texas, under its Director, Melinda Imthurn, will perform a program of music by Jocelyn Hagen, Dessa, Linda Tutas Haugen, and Gwyneth Walker. They will be joined by Saint Dominic Academy Glee Club, Jersey City, NJ (Joseph P. Napoli, Director), as well as the New England Symphonic Ensemble.
Mozart’s rarely heard Sparrow Mass and Haydn’s popular Te Deum will also be performed. Leslie Dala will conduct the Mozart, which will feature vocal soloists Danielle Talamantes, soprano; Anne Marie Stanley, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Masey, tenor; and Rob McGinness, baritone; and Scott Glysson will conduct the Haydn. The New England Symphonic Ensemble will accompany both performances, which will be sung by the following participating choruses:
Wilton High School Symphonic Chorus, Wilton, CT (Kevin Cotellese, Director)
Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Leslie Dala, Director)
Cal Poly Choirs, San Luis Obispo, CA (Scott Glysson, Director)
Concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage are $150, $100, and $50. Tickets may be obtained by contacting CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in New York, NY, or by going online to www.carnegiehall.org). For more information, contact [email protected]
KellyAnn Nelson, Conductor
KellyAnn Nelson is the Founder and Artistic Director of the 1,200-voice Young Professionals Choral Collective of Cincinnati (YPCC), as well as the Managing Artistic Director for the Cincinnati Boychoir. She is a sought-after choral music professional and serves as guest conductor, clinician and presenter at diverse events ranging from All-State Choirs to the TedX stage. She is passionate about access to great art, and speaks regularly on topics related to community engagement, recruitment and music literacy.
Ms. Nelson has previously served as an artistic leader and educator in stellar school programs and community arts organizations such as Princeton Girlchoir, Cincinnati Youth Choir and Gold Company II at Western Michigan University. She studied doctoral level choral conducting and arts administration at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and holds a Master’s & Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Western Michigan University.
Most importantly, KellyAnn is mama and wife to her amazing family team: conductor Dr. Christopher Eanes, 5-year-old artist Zaiya & 2-year-old comedian Coleman.
Eva Floyd, Conductor
Dr. Eva Floyd is associate professor of choral music education at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). She is the founder and conductor of the CCM Community Women’s Choir, and is a musicianship teacher for the Cincinnati May Festival Youth Choir. Following completion of her Ph.D. in Music Education from University of Kentucky, Floyd studied for two years at the Liszt Academy’s Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music in Hungary, earning an advanced diploma in Choral Conducting.
Dr. Floyd is featured in the DVD documentary “Soul-fege: A Journey from Soulful Genres to the Classics,” which chronicles her collaboration with the Voices of Unity Gospel Youth Choir to prepare for an honor choir festival in Budapest using Kodály-inspired teaching techniques. Floyd has published articles in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Contributions to Music Education, and The Journal of Music Teacher Education, and has authored chapters for Voices in Harmony and Kaleidoscope. She has presented her research at international symposia in Hungary, Poland, Scotland, Australia, and Greece.
About Young Professionals Choral Collective – KellyAnn Nelson, Director
Young Professionals Choral Collective (YPCC) is an innovative choral ensemble that combines Cincinnati's love of singing, socializing and culture for young professionals, ages 21-45. Now in its seventh season, YPCC is comprised of more than 1,200 singers who create and share high-quality music in an accessible, fun and social way. Creative partnerships elevate both the artistry and the community impact, and YPCC is receiving national attention as an engaged choral community for YP's seeking connection to their city, their friends and their love of singing together.
About The Seven Hills School Choir – Tina Kuhlman, Director
The Seven Hills Upper School Chorus is made up of beginning to advanced singers in grades 9-12. They perform a diverse selection of repertoire throughout the year with works that range from the early Renaissance period through 20th century, and includes classical, jazz and modern a cappella. They are under the direction of Tina Kuhlman, and accompanied by Lynne Miller.
About Mariemont High School Choir (Elizabeth McGahey, Director)
The Mariemont High School chorus is from Cincinnati and is made up of students from grades 5-12. This group has performed around the country, including the Epcot Holiday Show at Disney World and various cathedrals in New York City. Their director, Elizabeth McGahey, has been with the group for 15 years.
About MidAmerica Productions
Maestro Peter Tiboris created and conducted his first concert in New York on January 7, 1984, at Lincoln Center, featuring The American Symphony Orchestra, soloists, and three choruses, the Louisiana Chorale of Acadiana, Camerata Singers of Baton Rouge, and Collegiate Chorale of New York. Although he didn’t realize it at the time, Mr. Tiboris had just started his own successful production company, MidAmerica Productions, which would become the foremost independent producer of choral concerts in Carnegie Hall.
During its 36 years, MidAmerica Productions has brought together conductors, soloists, and choral and instrumental ensembles from the U.S. and abroad to appear at New York’s top venues, including Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Weill Recital Hall, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall; and Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center. In addition to presenting instrumental and classic choral works, MidAmerica Productions has championed the works of contemporary composers with approximately 92 World Premieres, 21 United States Premieres and 99 New York Premieres.
Additionally, MidAmerica Productions has presented concerts in numerous U.S. cities and in countries throughout the world, including Greece, England, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, France and Russia.